Wed, 19 Aug 2020
PLANS have been submitted to build a house in the car park of the former Sun in the Wood pub.
The application comes weeks after West Berkshire Council approved plans to convert the Ashmore Green pub into a house.
Applicants Mr and Mrs Morrison have now submitted a hybrid application to change the use of the pub to a home and to build a house and garage on the former car park.
Planning documents submitted by agent Pegasus Group said that “more efficient use of the site can be made, particularly the extensive former parking area” on the north eastern part of the site.
The pub and grounds are in Cold Ash parish, but outside the settlement boundary for Newbury and Ashmore Green.
Documents say that the new home is anticipated to be two storeys tall with a ridge height no taller than the former pub.
The property would be set back from Stoney Lane, which the agent said would also enable it to be designed to appear subservient to the former pub.
The home would have its own garden behind the property.
“The property would not therefore be an isolated house in the countryside and would not introduce a new dwelling into an area that is remote from services and facilities,” the documents say.
They add that the new application would make better use of the brownfield site car park, as well as enhancing the setting of the former pub.
Replacing approximately half the car park with a garden would also improve drainage, through increasing permeable surfaces, and ecology by creating natural habitats suitable for a range of species.
Access to both properties could come from Stoney Lane through widening the existing access.
This would require removing part of an existing hedgerow and ash tree, which was approved as part of the original application.
No alterations are proposed for the former pub other than relocating the garage in order to facilitate access to a second property.
Summing up, the agent said that the proposals would “bring an existing vacant building back into active re-use... together with enhancing its immediate setting through the removal of a large area of hardstanding that has been used for car parking”.
The Sun in the Wood has been vacant since 2018 and was put on the market for £750,000 by brewer Wadworth & Co, but no offers were received.
An offer for £400,000 was then rejected following a switch to an offers-invited approach.
A viability assessment said that business at the pub was in decline, with losses increasing from £153,390 in 2017 to £228,547 in 2018.
Barrelage fell from 49 in 2017 to 27 in 2018, a 45-per-cent reduction.
An appraisal said that a capital spend of around £420,000 would be needed to get the pub up and running again.
However, once costs were factored in the pub would make little profit and would be a high-risk investment, according to the report.
Approving the original scheme, West Berkshire Council said that converting the pub would not harm the rural economy or impact on the character and appearance of the rural area.